Linguistic Skills and the Cultural Make-Up of the ESL Learners of University of Eastern Philippines

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Leonila A. Longcop


This qualitative study focused on how conversations in English were carried out among NinorteSamarnon (NS) speakers. Using Conversation Analysis (CA), anchored on Austin and Searle Speech Acts Theory and Grice Conversation Maxims, this study described NS conversations-- the speech acts and the maxims of cooperative principle produced. The participants were NinorteSamarnon freshmen in the University of Eastern Philippines. The data were composed of 75 transcribed conversations generated via task-based conversation prompts. The findings revealed that NS speakers’ performed speech acts in specific contexts yet inadequate to sustain communicative needs. Grice’ Cooperative Principles were observed but on a limited scale. Violations to conversation maxims were likewise evident. As regards conversation structure, although it was found to be universal, the conversations in ESL contexts largely progressed through question-pair strategy attributed to poor linguistic and strategic competence which tended to abruptly terminate the interaction. The NS conversations were characterized by peculiar features like code switching and code-mixing and other expressions flavored by Filipino culture. It is concluded that the linguistic skills and the cultural make-up of the ESL learners, account for oral communication materials design. A major recommendation is to create authentic language learning strategies that promote conversation skills practice.

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